Rwanda Delay Decision on CBDC Issuance until End of 2022

The Rwandan central bank may not know whether it can issue a digital currency until December 2022, when it completes a study that looks at the benefits and risks that come with such a currency, the bank’s deputy governor has said.

In the Investigation Phase, the deputy governor of the Rwandan central bank, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, recently suggested that Rwanda is likely to know the outcome of the bank’s investigation into central bank digital currencies (CBDC) by the end of the year.

In her remarks published in the local media, Hakuziyaremye revealed that the decision to issue or not issue a CBDC would depend on the research study’s findings currently being undertaken by the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR).

“We are now at an investigation phase. We are analyzing what could be the benefits to Rwandans to have CBDC but also the risk not only to our economy but the sector depending on the form of digital currency we would issue,” – Hakuziyaremye explained.

As reported by E-play Africa in June 2021, the Rwandan central bank had commenced a research study that looked at the possible implications of a CBDC on monetary and financial stability. In addition, the report said the investigation would also look at “the operationalization model.” By launching the research study, the NBR became one of the few central banks in Africa to signal its embracing digital currencies. However, only the Central Bank of Nigeria has rolled out its digital currency so far.

Meanwhile, the deputy governor suggested that if Rwanda were to proceed with the digital currency launch, any such CBDC must reduce the number of people that are financially excluded.

She explained – “What is important is to look at financial inclusion because if you issue a digital currency, you shouldn’t be excluding your population, it has to go with closing the digital divide and making sure that people have the option to use it.”

Olivier Mugabonake, the chairperson of Rwanda Fintech Network, is quoted in the report discussing the potential opportunities that CBDC can bring to the local economy.

He said – “Technically speaking, some companies are ready to start adopting the technology. I understand the regulator needs to assess wisely and make sure it is adopted in a secured manner.”

Interestingly, Rwanda has joined the bandwagon of countries in Africa like Ghana, Kenya and others to continue studying the development. These countries have earmarked the intention of rolling-out Central Bank Digital currency before the end of 2022.

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